10 Uses of a plastic bottle in wilderness survival

Disposable water bottles
Disposable water bottles

Plastic bottles are the main trash found all around the world, they pollute our environment and seem so useless for anything else.  Here at Outdoor Revival HQ we often think of creative ways to use them.

Fortunately, they can be recycled and use in different ways, especially when there is a lack of survival equipment. In difficult times this trash can become the biggest treasure available in a life-saving situation.


water bottle Photo Credit
water bottle Photo Credit

Being able to re-use a plastic bottle instead of leaving it behind will make you a first-class survivor and will impress your friends. Here’s a list of great tips on how to use an empty bottle in a wilderness survival situations.


Fish trap

By cutting the neck of a plastic bottle and inverting it back into the bottle, you can create a perfect trap for small fish. Though you won’t catch a quantity of fish, it will be enough to feed you in a survival situation. You can also use small fish as bait to catch a bigger one.


Transparent bottle filled with water can be used as a firestarter when paired with sunlight and dry fibrous tinder. If you find a clear plastic bag this can be formed into a dome shape which will be easier to get a focal point with.

Eye protection 

Cut a strip from the side of a big plastic bottle and attach a string to connect the both sides. Then adjust the string for the size of your head. This primitive glasses will protect your eyes from sun, sand, and dust.  Very useful if you’re stuck in very sunny places like a desert or on snow.


Survival kit

A plastic bottle with a huge mouth can be your perfect waterproof survival kit.

Water filter

Cut the bottle in half, put a cotton material, like a t-shirt or jeans on the top and use it to filter the water. The filtered water won’t be drinkable, but the particles will be filtered.  At this point you need to purify it.

Tinder box

We like to keep our matches dry, right? An empty plastic bottle is a perfect storage for our tinder, matches, and match striker strips.


plastic bottles Photo Credit
plastic bottles Photo Credit

Water boiler

In big mouth bottles, you can put a hot stone to make the water boil and disinfect it, this needs to be done carefully so you don’t melt right through. You can also use the hot water for hygiene purposes.

Flotation Aid

An empty plastic bottle full of air and attached to your clothes can help you float in open water survival, especially if you have a number of them.


plastic bottles Photo Credit
plastic bottles Photo Credit

Emergency signal

If you have colorful bottles, hang them on a tree. The rescue crew will look for some signs of where you are, and this will help them to find you.


Plastic bottles
Plastic bottles

Water carrier

Purify some water and pour it into the bottle. In the end, that’s the bottle’s primary use.

Plastic bottles in any sizes are not a biodegradable waste, so never leave them behind after your picnic or outing.

If you are lost in the wilderness, a plastic bottle can be your best friend. You can use it multiple times, in many creative ways. These are only a few ideas how can you make the best of one simple plastic bottle.

Be a nature-aware traveler and don’t spoil the only planet we have. Re-use and Recycle!


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stef-zisovska is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival